What is a Birth Doula

As your birth doula I provide one on one birth preparation designed to bring you back into alignment with your inner voice, your personal power and your innate wisdom to give birth. You choose to have me as your doula because you know what you need is already within you, I’ll just guide you along the way. I provide continuous labour support as a companion who provides care physically, emotionally & spiritually, as your doula my primary responsibility is to you the birthing mother – not the hospital & its lame policies or nurses, midwifes, doctors etc, it’s all about YOU, your baby & your partner.

I provide evidence-based information for you to make true informed decisions in the birth space and I advocate for your right to make decisions about your own body and baby. I support whatever choices you choose to make. How you birth matters & how you are treated while birthing matters this is why 1 in 3 women are experiencing birth trauma & unnecessary interventions are through the roof. I had a doula at my second birth & the difference it made was profound.

I work to restore birth as a rite of passage, I deeply understand & trust the process of labour & birth, as a professional birth support person I am experienced in the art of being with women in the birth space and have a keen eye and strong intuition on what a labouring mother may need.

You may not realise it yet but birth is transformational & powerful… and so are you, so let's awaken that inner flame and allow you to surrender to the magic of it all with your partner by your side bringing your baby into this world together. Yay!

 

“A woman as long as she lives, will remember how she was made to feel at her birth” – Anna Verwaal

 

So what does this look like?

  • Initial catch up to see if we are the right fit
  • Prenatal visits
  • On call period
  • Support to you & your partner via phone/email
  • Postnatal visits
  • Being at your labour wherever you choose to birth
  • Providing up to date research & education, critical thinking skills
  • Giving you continuity of care
  • Access to my doula library
  • Option to add in HypnoBirthing classes
  • Being your bestie in birth!

Doulas are also evidence based, research suggests that having a doula:

  • decreases the risk of caesarean section
  • deceases the risk of assisted delivery (vacuum, forceps)
  • Increases the likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth (less inductions & augmentation)
  • Decreases the use of medications for pain relief
  • Shortens labour
  • Better infant outcomes (apgar scores)
  • Higher satisfaction
  • Decrease of post partum depression
  • There is no evidence for negative consequences to continuous labour support.

Based on the evidence here is a conceptual model of how doula support influences outcomes

(Evidence Based Birth by Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN. https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/)

 

So let's get clear on my role & what you expect from me

Doulas are NOT medical professionals

  • I do not perform clinical tasks such as vaginal exams, fetal heart monitoring, taking blood pressure etc
  • I do not give medical advice or diagnose conditions
  • I do not make decisions for the client (medical or otherwise)
  • I do not pressure the birthing person into certain choices
  • I do not take over the role of the partner
  • I am not responsible for delivering your baby or performing any clinical skills related

What do Doulas do?: A lot actually…

  • Prenatal education & recommendations, nutrition & supplement support, provide referrals as necessary, access to doula library, continuous support via phone & email up until your birth & postnatally.
  • Soothing with touch through the use of massage, counter pressure or acupressure
  • Helping to create a calm environment, like dimming lights, setting up the space with affirmations, visualisations, music, aromatherapy
  • Assisting with water therapy (shower, tub)
  • Applying warmth or cold
  • Assisting the birthing person in walking to and from the bathroom
  • Giving ice chips, food, and drinks
  • Continuous presence, keeping company
  • Support for the partner
  • Reassurance, Encouragement, Praise, Showing a caring attitude
  • Helping the birthing person see themselves or their situation more positively
  • Mirroring—calmly describing what the birthing person is experiencing and echoing back the same feelings and intensity
  • Accepting what the birthing person wants
  • Taking iphone photos if you wish me to do so
  • Helping the birthing person and partner work through fears and self-doubt
  • Debriefing after the birth—listening to the mother with empathy
  • Guiding the birthing person and their partner through labour
  • Suggesting techniques in labour, such as breathing, relaxation techniques, movement, and optimal positioning (positioning is important both with and without epidurals) use of Rebozo
  • Helping them find evidence-based information about different options in pregnancy and childbirth
  • Helping explain medical procedures before or as they occur
  • Helping the partner understand what’s going on with their loved one’s labour (for example, interpreting the different sounds the birthing person makes)
  • Encouraging the birthing person or their partner to ask questions and verbalize their preferences
  • Asking the birthing person what they want
  • Supporting the birthing person’s decision
  • Amplifying the mother’s voice if she is being dismissed, ignored, or not heard, “Excuse me, she’s trying to tell you something. I wasn’t sure if you heard her or not.”
  • Creating space and time for the birthing family so that they can ask questions, gather evidence-based information, and make decisions without feeling pressured
  • Facilitating communication between the parents and care providers
  • Teaching the birthing person and partner positive communication techniques
  • If a birthing person is not aware that a provider is about to perform an intervention, the doula could point out what it appears the nurse or physician is about to do, and ask the birthing person if they have any questions about what is about to happen. For example, if it looks like the provider is about to perform an episiotomy without the person’s consent: “Dr. Smith has scissors in his hand. Do you have any questions about what he is wanting to do with the scissors?”
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Maintain complete confidentially of your pregnancy & birth unless permission has been explicitly granted

Teamwork makes the dream work:

Some people think that they do not need a doula because their partner will be with them continuously throughout labour. It is true that the birth partner is an essential support person for a birthing person to have by their side. However, the birth partner will need to eat and use the bathroom at times, and they are having their own emotional journey that requires support. Also, many partners have limited knowledge about birth, medical procedures, or what goes on in a hospital, while doulas have knowledge and experience about all of these things that they can use to inform and support both the partner and birthing person. Ideally, doulas and partners can work together to make up a labour support team.

“If doulas were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it” -Dr John H Kennell

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